The Environmental Protection Agency recently released the final version of its much anticipated “Water of the United States” (WOTUS) rule. The rule seeks to define the waterways under EPA’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. The unofficial, pre-publication version of the rule is 297 pages.
In order to account for geographic variation in health care costs, insurance issuers are free to set different prices for across different locations.
The High Cost Plan Excise Tax, or “Cadillac Tax,” is one of the key provisions of Obamacare, both from the perspective of raising revenue and health policy. Beginning in 2018, there will be a tax of 40 percent on the amount of employer-provided insurance that exceeds a threshold. The threshold is set at $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for family coverage in 2018, but is adjusted upward each year based on the Consumer Product Index (CPI).
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a proposed rule to restructure many provisions regarding Medicaid managed care services. The unofficial, pre-publication version of the proposal is 653 pages. It is both an economically significant and major rule, with annualized costs exceeding $112 million.
Markets tanked yesterday, ostensibly over fears that the remarks of Chairwoman Janet Yellen put a rate increase back on the table. It is always a dangerous game to read the minds of millions of investors to conclude “the” cause of equity market fluctuations. But the chatter reinforced endless rehashing of the Fed’s 2015 policy over the past several months. Enough! When all is said and done:
Last month the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its first estimate of the growth in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the first quarter of 2015. According to the report, real GDP’s annualized growth rate was only a dismal 0.2 percent. So what exactly caused this slow growth in the first three months of the year? Some argue that this low estimate is due to an underlying methodological issue that results in a significant underestimate for the first quarter. However, several economic indicators have decelerated or declined over the last few months, indicating tepid growth in the first quarter. Given the questions surrounding the validity of the last GDP estimate, it is particularly important to examine economic metrics from a variety of sources and analyze their implications for growth.
Where I grew up in the Midwest, the landscape is filled with corn fields, punctuated by the even more distinct green of John Deere tractors. The iconic company has largely stayed out of the news, but this changed recently when it was reported that the manufacturer “told the Copyright Office that farmers don’t own their tractors.” What the company actually argued is much less egregious than what is being portrayed in headlines, but it did reignite a debate over the future of innovation in America. Innovation in the 21st century requires community and collaboration, so manufacturers naturally walk a fine line with regard to legal positions and customer communications.
The housing bubble and crash were at the heart of the financial crisis and Great Recession. Logic would have dictated that large reforms to the flawed system of housing finance — notably the large government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-- would have followed. Politics and logic, however, live on separate planets so that is not what has transpired.
Total costs were modest this week, with $66 million in burdens, compared to $42 million in annualized costs and $334 million in benefits. Thanks to a Department of Education (ED) proposal, paperwork accelerated by more than 3.6 million hours. One Dodd-Frank proposal contained minor burdens.
You should be able to keep your financial adviser. Unfortunately, the Department of Labor's (DOL’s) recently proposed “fiduciary rule” threatens this option.